Quality of Life
Baseball was a popular leisure activity in the early twentieth century and there were even company baseball teams in the parish. The Port Allen Baseball Park was built by the WPA and provided practice and playing fields during the 1940s until the land was used for a new courthouse and fair grounds. In the 1930s, an African American Brusly baseball team, the Brusly Brown Bombers, played in a field across the Red Hat Club. Major employers of West Baton Rouge residents had company baseball teams. For example, the Esso Regulars was the company team for African American players and the Esso Oilers was the company team for the white players.
West Baton Rouge Garden and Civic Association
On January 17, 1928, at the invitation of Mrs. Frank J. Whitehead and Mrs. Edna Jarreau, eighteen women met to discuss the civic needs of the parish, with a special emphasis on fostering and encouraging the growing of flowers and shrubbery and promoting the welfare and betterment of the community. The first meeting was held on February 7, 1928, and the Club continues today to promote programs throughout the parish such as the “Cleanest City” contest and encouraging new members in the Live Oak Society. In 1933, the Club began a major long-term commitment to establishing the parish library.
West Baton Rouge Parish Library
In 1959, after the 4th West Baton Rouge Parish Courthouse was completed, the remains of the 3rd Parish Courthouse, the annex for the court records, was renovated to serve as the parish library. Six years later, the library was moved to a larger building on N. Jefferson Avenue and California Street. In 1969, the State Library helped to establish the West Baton Rouge Parish Library as a demonstration library. Fran Cole was hired as the first library director. She oversaw the construction of a modern facility on N. Alexander, which opened in 1976.
There have been home demonstration clubs in Addis, Brusly, Bueche, Chamberlin, Erwinville, and Port Allen. The clubs were originally only open to women, and often focused on canning, cooking, gardening, sewing, and health.
This quilt block design for the parish's Bicentennial Quilt Project
features the West Baton Rouge Parish Fair.
Originally done in watercolor by Ruth Gascon in 1976.
Scouting: A Strong Tradition in West Baton Rouge
The Boy Scouts of America (and, later, Girl Scouts of America) proved highly popular in West Baton Rouge Parish. Boy Scouts Troop 38 was issued a charter in 1932. Girl Scouting in West Baton Rouge bloomed in the 1940s and continues with Service Unit 644. Shortly after World War Two, Judge Paul B. Landry asked the federal government for a meeting space for the local boy scouts. In response, a “pre-fabricated” building was sent on a rail car to be assembled behind the American Legion building on 6th street in Port Allen. Scout Troop 38 used this hut for 60 years before disbanding. Many Parish residents still fondly remember scout meetings held in the building. The structure sat vacant for a decade before being donated to the West Baton Rouge Museum in 2017 and transformed into the museum’s Juke Joint.
The Explorer Post Troop #38 building in Port Allen, c. 1968
Girl Scout Troop #241